A coalition of left-wing groups with wide-ranging focuses have united to issue a list of demands to former vice president Joe Biden now that he's officially the Democratic presidential nominee.
The Wednesday afternoon letter from self-described "leaders from a diverse array of organizations building political power for young people" came just hours after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) announced he was ending his presidential campaign, cementing Biden as the party's nominee. The letter demanding Biden embrace far-left policies such as the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and a wealth tax comes from eight groups with diverging policy focuses, from climate change groups such as NextGen America to the anti-Israel IfNotNow Movement. The groups write in the letter to Biden that if their demands are met, they will spend $100 million targeting youth voters and "work tirelessly" to help him defeat President Trump in November.
The list of the demands sent to Biden represents an attempt to unify some of the furthest fringes of the Democratic Party, bringing together factions with narrow focuses on issues such as gun control, climate change, and immigration under a single umbrella. The letter urges Biden to move even further left now that he's secured the nomination and says it's the only way he will secure the youth voters he needs to defeat President Trump in November. The former vice president already made a number of major policy concessions to the far-left as he worked to unify the party behind him during the primary and said recently that he wants Sanders, a socialist favored by a majority of the party's young voters, to be part of his general election coalition against Trump.
Aside from demanding Biden get behind major policy proposals such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, the letter asks Biden to make major commitments across the entire policy spectrum. On the issue of college tuition, where Biden already lurched left by agreeing to support making college tuition free for families making less than $125,000 a year, the letter demands that Biden embrace free undergraduate tuition "for all students, regardless of income, citizenship status, or criminal record." It further calls for him to cancel all outstanding student loan debt.
The groups call on Biden to embrace expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court, provide free health care to illegal immigrants, probe the NRA's nonprofit status, and enact a wealth tax.
In addition to policy demands, the groups make specific requests for Biden to commit to appointing elected officials who supported Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) to key posts in his potential administration. They call on Biden to "appoint a trusted progressive to lead the White House Presidential Personnel Office to ensure that the entire administration is free of corruption and staffed with public servants committed to advancing a progressive agenda."
The eight organizations behind the letter are climate change groups NextGen America and the Sunrise Movement, youth vote advocates Alliance for Youth Action, free college advocate group Student Action, anti-Israel group IfNotNow, the gun control-focused March for Our Lives, radical immigration group United We Dream, and the Justice Democrats, the group that fueled Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 2018 election victory.
Together, they warn Biden that a campaign promising a "return to normalcy" will fail to win over the young voters he needs to defeat Trump in November.
"While you are now the presumptive Democratic nominee, it is clear that you were unable to win the votes of the vast majority of voters under 45 years old during the primary," the letter states. "With young people poised to play a critical role deciding the next president, you need to have more young people enthusiastically supporting and campaigning with you to defeat Trump. This division must be reconciled so we can unite the party to defeat Trump."
"Messaging around a 'return to normalcy; does not and has not earned the support and trust of voters from our generation. For so many young people, going back to the way things were 'before Trump' isn’t a motivating enough reason to cast a ballot in November."
Biden has in recent days voiced a willingness to work with the far left, saying he wants Sanders and his supporters "to be part of the journey" in the general election.
"If I'm the nominee, I can tell you one thing. I would very much want Bernie to be part of the journey," Biden said on Tuesday. "Not as a vice presidential nominee but just engaging in all the things that he's worked so hard to do, many of which I agree with."
On Wednesday, Biden issued a lengthy statement on Sanders's decision to leave the race, praising the "movement" he created and asking for the support of his voters.
"While the Sanders campaign has been suspended—its impact on this election and on elections to come is far from over," Biden wrote in a Medium post. "We will address the existential crisis of climate change. We will confront income inequality in our nation. We will make sure healthcare is affordable and accessible to every American. We will make education at our public colleges and universities free. We will ease the burden of student debt. And, most important of all, we will defeat Donald Trump."
President Trump, meanwhile, is making his own case to Sanders voters, saying the Democratic establishment stole the nomination from him just like they did in 2016.
"This ended just like the Democrats and the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco," the president tweeted shortly after the Wednesday morning announcement from Sanders. "The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!"
The full letter of policy demands can be read below: